This is Ini KARI Lah, newly opened in SS2 and bearing some signs of the fact: A row of gifted flowers, still in pristine condition, line the storefront.

Inside, everything screams new. Bright, white ceiling lights, blasting air conditioning, off-white tables and chairs make for a slightly glaring but relatively comfortable setting.

Look for an artfully designed storefront in the SS2 Cheow Yang area.
Look for an artfully designed storefront in the SS2 Cheow Yang area.

Look for an artfully designed storefront in the SS2 Cheow Yang area.

But beneath all the stuff that’s new, lies some serious experience.

Diners who’ve frequented Restoran Tien Tien Lai in Ara Damansara may have noticed that the curry laksa stall there is no more.

Apple Kam, 44, the woman behind that curry laksa, operated there for years before a chance reunion with a former acquaintance (decades in the making, I might add) changed things.

The encounter would develop into plans to open up their own place, which eventually came to fruition with two other partners.

Here, her signature curry laksa is at the forefront of the business, while you’ll also find pan mee here courtesy of her other two partners.

Slurping up and digging into some delicious curry laksa to a soundtrack of K-pop girl bands TWICE and Momoland is quite the experience, and I’m not complaining.
Slurping up and digging into some delicious curry laksa to a soundtrack of K-pop girl bands TWICE and Momoland is quite the experience, and I’m not complaining.

Slurping up and digging into some delicious curry laksa to a soundtrack of K-pop girl bands TWICE and Momoland is quite the experience, and I’m not complaining.

But we’re here to focus on the curry laksa, even as the refrain in Hype Boy by K-pop girl group NewJeans rings around the room like an earworm stuck in your head.

Like any good curry laksa, a bowl at Ini KARI Lah is all about the curry itself, the light pastel orange colour, the thick, heavily creamy consistency, and the spice-filled curry paste with a million and one things going on.

A lot less fiery red than most, this curry is characterised by a large amount of 'santan' and gets most of its intensely sweet and savoury flavour from a complex spice base.
A lot less fiery red than most, this curry is characterised by a large amount of ‘santan’ and gets most of its intensely sweet and savoury flavour from a complex spice base.

A lot less fiery red than most, this curry is characterised by a large amount of ‘santan’ and gets most of its intensely sweet and savoury flavour from a complex spice base.

Coconut milk features heavily, resulting in the curry’s lighter appearance and milder heat level.

That being said, this is no lightweight curry.

Sweet, savoury and incredibly complex, the almost grainy texture reveals a multitude of fresh spices like galangal and lemongrass that are blended to make the spice base.

The sweeter, less spicy flavour of the curry, is a deliberate choice on Kam’s part.

She wants everyone to be able to enjoy her curry laksa, including young children and the elderly, so she’s spent years tweaking and perfecting the curry paste to be less spicy, but still rich and intensely flavourful.

Originally her mother’s curry recipe, she now makes it from scratch every other day, using the freshest possible ingredients.

An order of Curry Mee with Siew Yoke and fresh cockles included goes for RM18.50, with toppings including fried fu chuk, fish cake, tofu pok, long beans, bean sprouts and the eponymous siew yoke and plump, juicy siham.

Steamed chicken in the curry 'laksa' here is a smooth and slippery joy to slip in the mouth.
Steamed chicken in the curry ‘laksa’ here is a smooth and slippery joy to slip in the mouth.

Steamed chicken in the curry ‘laksa’ here is a smooth and slippery joy to slip in the mouth.

A personal favourite of mine, Curry Mee with Steamed Chicken (RM15.50), called out to me the moment I laid eyes on it on the menu.

With the exception of a few pieces of steamed chicken in place of the siew yoke and no siham, the same base toppings can be found here, all of which invite you to dunk, swish and soak them in the curry like Oreos in milk.

Better yet, dip it in the spicier and slightly saltier chilli paste for a cascade of bold intensity on the tongue.

Try dipping some toppings in the chilli paste here
Try dipping some toppings in the chilli paste here

Try dipping some toppings in the chilli paste here

Spicy and slightly salty, the chilli paste here features bits of dried shrimps for a kick of umami.
Spicy and slightly salty, the chilli paste here features bits of dried shrimps for a kick of umami.

Spicy and slightly salty, the chilli paste here features bits of dried shrimps for a kick of umami.

It’s far from the cheapest bowl of curry laksa out there, but you do get to enjoy it in an environment far more comfortable than one conventionally would.

But it is also a delicately balanced bowl of curry laksa.

Like an elaborate performance, each part stands out while playing its role to perfection: Fragrant, savoury and creamy curry with springy yellow noodles, crunchy bean sprouts and long beans, chewy and curry-soaked fried fu chuk and tofu pok.

What’s not to like? Toss in some crispy, salty siew yoke or some smooth, slippery steamed chicken. This is an ensemble performance well worth the price of admission.

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